“No matter how difficult the situation may look at the moment, it’s important that you know this is still your story (…),” says Tamás Szilágyi, one of the founders of Mad Scientist. His words are here to encourage anyone, not only those building Hungarian gastronomy businesses—the current situation is hard on many. What can a bar targeting gourmets do and how can a multigenerational family restaurant that has earnt a solid place in Budapest’s gastronomy develop in a manner not to damage its name but to gain a fresh momentum? In the ninth episode of our series, you can meet the person to whom we owe cereal drinks in Hungary, and we’ll also show you what it is like when street food meets bistro kitchen. The joint campaign of Piqniq Budapest and Mastercard.
Krisztián „Kiki” Vida – food broker
As one of the owners of ISH Food Kft., Krisztián Vida has been a prominent player of the organic market for almost 20 years. He found cereal drinks in 2002, driven by family motives and his interest resulting from the same. This product has been determining his work ever since, this is where he could find his true passion. He has created the category of cereal drinks in Hungary, and today there are startups, producers, smaller and bigger companies standing in front of his door so that their products could enter the markets of other European countries in addition to Hungary. From the handyman of his own company, he has become an international food broker in two decades.
„Think global – do local.”
Kiki sees the future in sustainable and health-conscious products. He is convinced that we will eat less and better already in our lifetime. Price is an important factor on the Hungarian market, and currently quality foods are quite high priced, as only a few farms switched to eco-conscious and health-conscious production. He thinks it is important to promote locally available products: a good example of this is how instead of goji berries coming a long way to Hungary and thus having a giant carbon footprint we should rather use rosehip which grows on practically every corner.
Róbert Rosenstein – owner, Rosenstein Restaurant
“We are an island on the Hungarian palette, and we always reborn a little.”
The Rosenstein name is a decades-old brand in the world of Hungarian gastronomy. No matter what new project the owner starts under the name, it will most probably be a hit. Innovation is important to Róbert Rosenstein, the youngest member of the hospitality dynasty, and thus, after assessing the market environment, he realized his old dream and also started selling products in the family company. Restaurant, eatery, pastry shop, farm, drive-in pop-up street food, selling goods: the Rosenstein family has never been restless when it came to innovation or if they had to respond to unexpected situations. Quality, traditions and the unbroken trust of their customers and guests is the basis of their activity and their success at the same time.
Zoli Nagy – owner, Boutiq’Bar
Boutiq’Bar has been a phenomenon in Budapest, and, owing to the owners’ hard work, it has earned a name outside of Hungary, too. Zoli Nagy, and his partner in every aspect of life, Lilla Kocsis together with Pál Szakál decided that they wanted to open a new, progressive bar with the experience gained abroad when returning from England eleven years ago. Boutiq’ was opened for the appreciative crowd offering premium ingredients and top quality service.
Initially Zoli didn’t want to address the domestic audience with his bar concept: he knew that the Hungarian audience would not support a place like this on its own. With Boutiq’, he positioned himself into the luxury segment of hospitality, and, within that, a very thin layer became his target audience: the group of laymen liquor gourmets and representatives of the profession. With the concept perceived as new-wave in Hungary, his goal was to make people come to the bar for the enjoyment of the drinks and not for drinking itself. In addition, it has been an important aspect for him from the very beginning that he would revive the bartender profession in Hungary.
“This is an experience-based trade. You can only get 20 years of experience in 20 years.”
Tamás Szilágyi – Mad Scientist, founder
Tamás Szilágyi, Gergő Závodszky and Csaba Tarján started brewing beer in 2015 as a hobby. It seemed like a very good idea in their twenties: Tamás, who was a qualified psychologist who only existed in the world of poker until then could finally put his creative energies to use, while Gergő and Csaba (the former as a mechanical engineer and the latter as a microbial engineer) could utilize their knowledge in a completely new field.
When they started to dive deeper into the area and visit breweries so that they could learn, they realized that artisan beer making is something they could easily do at a higher level, but they knew that in order to do this they would have to work on this project exclusively. Only a year after the beginning, they made a decision and turned their hobby into their full-time job and a vocation, and Mad Scientist embarked on its conquest.
“The beer is tasty because it is made by happy people.”
Zsófi Falusy and Dani Imrik – owners, Freeride Street Food Bistro
“»Taste-trust« is not a matter of epidemic.”
Zsófi Falusy and Dani Imrik opened a street food restaurant in Szentendre, thus spicing up the city’s life: they offer bistro meals in wraps, accompanied by soups, desserts and snacks under the name Freeride Street Food Bistro. The planned opening was postponed to the summer, but in only the first few months they managed to win over the locals with their directness, kindness and, of course, great food.
Today, they are not rookies anymore in the city, and they earned the trust of people with their aptitude and their hard work. At the moment they have teamed up with other restaurant owners and are working on launching a professional food delivery system in Szentendre that would mean a great help in the current situation.
Photography | Horpáczi Dávid
Video | Sepsi Gergő